The ultimate summer salad
You probably keep hearing "eat the rainbow" but what does this mean?
Including as many colors on your plate is a great way to ensure you are getting a variety of nutrients into your diet every day. Variety is key because if you are always eating the same foods every single day you probably will be missing out on specific vitamins and minerals.
Not to mention, vibrant colorful plants contain antioxidants that help lower inflammation and protect the body's tissues from damage. And we all know we need more support with that, what living in an environment that has become fairly toxic with pollutants, chemicals, etc.
So today we are sharing with you a superfood rainbow salad that will feed your cells and your tastebuds! Yes, you heard us right... but first, let's chat about why this salad deserves your undivided attention...
This bitter green stimulates digestive secretions such as enzymes to help break down and assimilate your food. Arugula is actually a type of cruciferous vegetable, which includes a variety of plants known for their abilities to help detoxify toxins, fight free radical damage, and supply important vitamins and minerals.
Spinach is a good vegetarian source of iron, carotenoids, vitamin C, vitamin K, folate, and is one of the best plant sources of calcium. Its fiber content helps support digestion and bulk up your stool helping to prevent constipation.
There is a lot of soy fear going around, but soy can actually be a health food. Numerous studies show soy being protective against breast cancer (1) and have a favorable effect on cardiovascular and bone health in menopausal women (2). However, not all soy is equal. Avoid processed soy products and opt for organic and fermented products instead such as tempeh which is a complete protein source and contains prebiotics which feed our good gut bacteria.
If you don't do well with soy, replace with an animal protein such as organic free-range chicken or a vegan source such as chickpeas.
Packed with nutrients, oranges are high in vitamin C, folate, potassium and antioxidants like polyphenols, carotenoids, and phenolics. Relatively low glycemic and high in fiber, they can support weight loss and protect heart health. By consuming the whole orange you reduce the blood sugar response by including the fiber of the fruit.
Cilantro is a herb that can help cleanse the body, it does this by binding onto heavy metals to excrete them via the bowels. It also contains a property called linalool that helps to cleanse the liver and promote the production of digestive enzymes. It has been shown to help relieve symptoms like bloating, nausea, and indigestion. Some of you may find this herb tastes like soap which is said to be due to genetic factors, so it may run in the family!
Who doesn't like a good ol' ripe avocado! Avocados are actually classified as a fruit and contain healthy monounsaturated fatty acids known for their heart-healthy properties that can reduce inflammation, and increase nutrient absorption such as fat-soluble vitamins. Avocados are another source of fiber that helps to stabilize blood sugar, remove toxins, support weight loss and feed probiotics in the gut. So yes, we agree, you deserve that extra guac!
This fruit holds an impressive nutrient profile by providing fiber, protein, vitamin C, vitamin K, folate, and potassium. In addition, pomegranate contains 2 specific compounds called punicalagin and punicic acid (3). Punicalagins are potent antioxidants (stronger than red wine and green tea) and can be found in the juice and peel of the fruit. Punicic acid has been gaining recognition for its therapeutic effects and protective properties against various chronic diseases. Essentially a type of fatty acid found in pomegranate seed oil, this compound has been shown to possess anti-inflammatory and anti-diabetic properties that can help improve blood sugar imbalances and support a healthy weight.
These babies are packed with vitamin C and antioxidants (hence their bright colors). You can find quercetin, lutein, carotenoids, luteolin, capsanthin, and violaxanthin in bell peppers, which are all antioxidants associated with many health benefits such as improving eye health and iron absorption, whilst reducing inflammation and cardiovascular risk.
1/2 red bell pepper diced
1/2 yellow bell pepper diced
1 cup arugula
1 cup spinach or mixed greens
2 tbsps pomegranate seeds
1 small mandarine orange
1 tbsp hemp seeds
1/2 cup of tempeh (grab your own kit to make your own here!)
1/2 ripe avocado
1 tbsp tahini
2 tbsps fresh cilantro
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup water
1 lime juiced
1/2 lemon juiced
Salt and pepper to taste
Add the bell peppers and leafy greens to a large bowl. Mix all dressing ingredients to a food processor and blend until creamy, add water if needed. Add dressing to the bowl and mix together evenly. Top with tempeh, sliced mandarin orange, pomegranate seeds, and hemp seeds.